The YouTube Generation

Youtube is the up and coming means of entertainment. People are even appalled with how much the millennial kids – forever dissed because of their apparent frivolity – are turning more towards videos by unprofessional videographers, sometimes absurd and meaningless in content.

Why do people watch vloggers go to amusement parks? Why watch rants, and comedy sketches with low production costs? Why become passionate fans of people who – if we want to speak in practical, plain terms – do nothing but broadcast themselves? What’s admirable about them?

Why does Onision’s video of him in a banana suit have 45 million views?

source: Onision

No, don’t do it. Don’t dismiss it as stupidity. By doing that, you are denying yourself the ability to understand a whole demographic of people. A large demographic of people, who you’ll be interacting with and selling to in the next few years.

It is usual to lay all the blame to the skewed vision of young children. The skewed vision of teenagers, as we twenty-something ancients would say.

I personally have joined their ranks. Laughing endlessly at extremely ridiculous videos – not even animal ones but a video of a man dancing around in a banana suit – is my guiltless guilty pleasure. I hide it most of the time, and other times I’m laughing too hard to bother. Let’s be real here, almost nobody thinks in practical, plain terms anymore.

The audience of these videos have a sense of humour hitherto not brought to popularity, if not exactly fully new. The very ridiculousness and jaded tone of these videos is more in keeping with the current mentality of a younger group more exposed and cynical than ever. Politically clean and polished entertainment doesn’t suffice anymore. Produced TV shows are nice, some programmes might be funny, but they are nothing to how much people can relate to the independent entertainers of YouTube. TV features mentalities that don’t have the same effect, and are even starting to hire YouTubers to stay afloat, giving them talk shows (DailyGrace) and little shorts.

The colourful streets of Tokyo through the cameras of Japanese vloggers to the radio stations of London, the faces of icons with whom you can control your interaction instead of the much farther lights of glitzy celebrities, the dark gory humour of some YouTubers and the fantasy lifestyles of others – all these provide far more varied, relatable and suitable entertainment than cultured TV programmes that are losing their touch.

The very absurdity of YouTube humour and its refreshing casual atmosphere are what appeals to a generation fed up of meaningfulness.

Youtube gets them, and the variety is such that there’s something for everybody.

Why are vloggers successful, though you might argue that the only thing they’re doing is filming their day? Because they know what to portray to people who are just curious – about cats, cities, jobs, lifestyles or just certain personalities.

What about crude comedy? Some people, especially those who carry around a certain amount of disillusioned angst, don’t laugh at clean comedy. They want the absurdity, the dirtiness, the uncensored humour.

Why are low production comedy sketches so popular? Low production is taken as a sign of sincerity, and the comedy is more from their perspectives.  There are inside jokes meant for them, the trawlers of the internet and the creators of memes, the bloggers of Tumblr and even Reddit (eugh). There are pop-culture jokes and contemporary societal fallacies (like the one above about Reddit), things that just make more sense, things based more in their world. The bizarre is now fun and different, the vulgar a symbol of sincerity, nerdiness a token of innocence. This is not to say that YouTube is utopia – quite the opposite. Look at any comment section and the loudest mouths are open wide there, making it a cesspool of undeniably horrible views. You have videos of people breaking eggs with their boobs, Donald Trump supporters, and people ordering vloggers to kill themselves. The dichotomy this creates enhances the experience – it is a world of entertainment you have to get before you can enjoy.

And getting it might be vital. Ask BBC Radio, which employs vloggers as DJs to bring in younger demographics. They have a whole new feature for it and are making the whole BBC Radio 1 more reliant on the internet. YouTube, and the internet in general, resemble uber-new environments of their times that have often carved out the features of the future. Older ideas have always been in disturbed disgruntlement with strange, younger ones (which parent ever understood the worship of David Bowie, Elvis Presley, and recently anime) which go on to become art forms, if not norms.

 

By  Nafisa Tabassum Choudhury

Feature image source: hercampus

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." (George Orwell, in Animal Farm, 1945)

2 Comments

  • December 11, 2015

    Suzanne

    Also, to add to that, I think people appreciate the genuine and authentic vibe that YouTubers generally have because of how they communicate with their audience, to the extent that some of them feel cheated when their favourite YouTuber starts making sponsored videos. It’s as if they forget the YouTubers’ incomes are through the very videos themselves. In a way, their low cost vlogs help boost their approachability (if that’s a word) and in turn, their popularity.

  • December 11, 2015

    Nafisa

    Yup, exactly. And you also see a devoted fanbase of people who basically consider them close and to be cared for. The tumblr memes of “They are my soooons” have more than just comedic effect when analysed, they reflect a certain mentality.